RIP Ralph


I posted less than an hour ago about how I was going to freak out on a mouse that had decided to call my home his personal pooping-grounds. I think it was some sort of karmic punishment for me, because very soon after I published that post, Ralph got caught.

Warning: This part gets a little icky. I’m not sure what your tolerance for ick is, but if it’s low, you should probably go…just go! Go while you can!

This animal’s blood is on my hands (not literally, thank goodness). I eat some meat (infrequently, and usually only a bit of chicken or fish, but I still eat animals) but unfortunately, it’s easier to forget that my frozen chicken breast actually came from a living, sentient being, and since I actually killed this animal that I had jokingly named…it felt worse. It wasn’t worse, but it felt worse because I had to watch it struggle. I’d bought several traps that would simply catch the mouse and keep it alive so I could release it outside, but there weren’t many at the store so I also bought the glue traps that stick to their feet as they walk over them. 

I watched it struggle and I heard it squeal, and probably apologized 20 times as I carried it — still attached to the trap — outside by the dumpster, where I (while trying not to cry and/or vomit) turned the trap over and stomped on it. I didn’t want it to be scared any longer.

I cannot stop replaying it in my head.  I feel like a huge jerk, and I know it might sound stupid and trivial to some people, but I really don’t think I can forgive myself for this. I didn’t know what else to do…it was starting to poo in my kitchen and I was really worried about getting sick…

I had to make a difficult decision, and I made it. I don’t feel good about it at all. But I at least attempted to ease its suffering, I guess? It ate a lot of really nice Tillamook cheese and ran around a warm apartment, sheltered from rain and wind toward the end of its life. Maybe it was really old and was near the end of it’s life anyway (probably not, but I can only hope). Maybe I’m being hypersensitive. 

It’s just hard not to respond to the energy of an animal while it’s afraid for its life. I just felt its anxiety and terror, and I don’t know what else to say but that it broke my heart to hurt it the way I did. 

Rest in Peace, Ralph! I lit some incense in your honor, and I hope you are reincarnated as something wonderful. An eagle, maybe, so you can soar free (wow, that was cheesy…cheesy, get it? eh?) and be really majestic. Of all the mice that could’ve wandered into my apartment, you were probably the least terrifying. Sorry I’m terrible at giving eulogies. 

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I’m Still Alive


In case y’all were worried, I’m still alive! But I have had an exciting two weeks, so here it goes!

1. I hate faxing. I have spent at least 15 dollars in the past week faxing paperwork to my doctor, my study abroad program office, and the other university I had to be “accepted” to in order to receive credit for studying abroad. I hate faxes. I thought faxes had ended in 1985, and even though my mom faxes stuff all the time for work, I hate it. I hate it because I have to go to the student union, get ripped off by a grumpy asshole who doesn’t even look at my face while we exchange money for services, and…basically, faxing is stupid and I will never change my mind on that.

2. I also hate paperwork. Do y’all know how much paperwork is involved in going to India? From disclosing where my tattoos are located because the university in India won’t allow any of my tattoos to show while on campus to reading about the chances of me getting malaria and rabies while I’m there, I’ve gone through so many documents I’m surprised my head hasn’t exploded.

3. There is a mouse in my house. First it was ants crawling all over my food, and now apparently it’s a mouse. At first, I felt badly about potentially killing it because I have this idea that it’s wrong to punish a wild animal for existing in this space that I have designated as “mine” even though the little mouse isn’t aware of these rules I’ve made up…anyway, it started pooping on top of my fridge and I quickly changed my mind. I am not about to get some sort of disease from this rodent (I named him Ralph and he has a white tummy) no way no how. I am living the real-life version of Mouse Hunt and I will vanquish him. 

4. Guys, there’s still a mouse in my apartment. I think what bothers me most is that I was dusting my living room table and once it was clean I turned away for about 5 minutes before turning around and…is that mouse poo on my table? The sneaky bastard is an acrobat, I swear, and I started screaming at an invisible ghost-mouse for about 3 minutes while alone and waving my arms around like a madwoman. 
What really gets me, though, is the fact that he pooped about 3 inches away from one of my mouse traps, like he was taunting me…

Anyway, I have 4 weeks left in this terrible basement hut and then I’m off to India, where the bugs are no doubt gigantic and where I’m supposed to look out for wild dogs with rabies and not drink the tap water or eat “suspicious” meat, where there are guards outside my apartment complex and where I must remove all piercings except one in each ear lobe before going on campus. Where I will be riding around in 3 wheeled auto-rickshaws and getting the chance to feed an elephant, where I will be working with underprivileged children and taking classes on Hinduism and holy places in India. Where I will meet beautiful people and explore my soul and wear colorful clothes and where I will be so absolutely happy that any memory of this demon mouse will feel far in the past. 

I’m so pleased.

India


So uh…in case you guys were wondering…

I’M GOING TO INDIA.

This summer. Study abroad. INDIAAAAAAAA. Whatevs.

I found out today while I was studying for an exam (I may have been so heavily caffeinated that upon receiving the email I had an excitement- and caffeine-induced seizure in the library) and was immediately distracted, so I walked home to shake off some of the jitters. After studying a bit more at my apartment, I made the mistake of taking a study break and looking at some of the documents I was given about traveling abroad/housing info/class registration/plane tickets/visa info/don’t get malaria/this is gonna be a huge culture shock and…

Now I’m super overwhelmed. Super super excited, but also super overwhelmed. I have to constantly remind myself (seriously, every three seconds) that I have time to deal with all the paperwork and that I should just allow myself to be happy I got into the program and now it’s time to study for my test.

YOU GUYS. I’M GOING TO INDIA. I. AM. SO. HAPPY.

This must be what doing cocaine feels like. Except…not? I don’t know, my test tomorrow is for my drugs and alcohol class, so maybe if I was studying I’d know what the effects of cocaine are. Oops.

I’ve gone insane. The caffeine hasn’t worn off yet. To prevent myself from further embarassment, I’ll just stop here, but I’ll leave you with this lovely gem:

There’s an SNL episode in which Zac Effron explains the differences between attending a musical high school and actual college. He talks about a song he made up called “nervous but excited” and that song needs to be written (probably by me) because it’s exactly how I feel about India. Nervous, but excited.

So yeah, click here for the clip of that…

Love you all! Wheeeee!

I Was Someone Else Before


I’ve been thinking about the soul a lot lately. My poetry professor tells us not to write about the soul because he doesn’t know what a soul is — “Nobody knows what a soul is.” As much as I absolutely love him, I have to disagree, because my particular brand of spirituality — Hinduism — is centered around the soul. I don’t find it insensitive of him, per say, but I do think he might want to take a step back and think about the soul a little before he makes such broad nullifying statements.

Everyone has their own view of the soul. There’s soul food, which is comforting and filling; there’s soul music, which fills us up in a more spiritual way; there are what we call soulmates, people who we feel a deep connection with on a basic level. With all this talk of the soul, it’s hard not to believe that it exists some way or another, especially since this particular concept has been around since practically the dawn of time.

I think of the soul as occupying a physical space within our body, which you may or may not agree with, but that’s the beauty of the soul: it’s a little different for everyone, because everyone’s needs are just a little different. To me, the soul exists between the Naval (Swadhisthana) and Solar Plexus (Manipura) chakras, in a realm between orange and yellow (which I find to be the warmest tones, anyway, and why not? Filling your soul makes you feel warm). For those of you who aren’t very familiar with the chakras, they’re the energy centers of our body, and the Naval Chakra is the center of creativity and joy, among other things; the Solar Plexus Chakra governs individual strength and expansiveness, among others.

What I’m getting at here is my belief that the soul is a part of the Self that combines the power of one’s inner light with the joy of the world around us, and when I feel complete, satisfied, and soul-happy, the area just below my solar plexus feels like it’s glowing, like my soul is expanding and trying to reach out to all the other parts of the universe, connecting me to every other entity that exists.

Our soul is everything about us that isn’t flesh and bone. It is who we are. It is all the good, and all the bad, that we inherently are. And as a Hindu, and even just as a person who exists on this planet and contemplates life and death from time to time, I believe that my soul existed before it occupied my current body, just as I believe that once this body dies, my soul will occupy another. Sometimes history repeats itself, and why not? We are the same souls, existing over and over in different times, learning a little each time we have a go at life. We are reincarnated in many different forms — of “good” and “bad” people, rich and poor, different ethnicities, different religions, until we become someone who truly understands the universe and the meaning of existence. I’m not there yet. I am most definitely not there yet.

The soul drifts — not aimlessly, but with purpose. Sometimes I have these moments — crazy as it seems — when I feel like I existed a very long time ago, in a very different place from America. I have an internal, inherent knowledge that I attempt to tap into sometimes, and though I struggle, I believe it’s all there, just below the surface. Maybe that knowledge exists within my soul, and maybe it’s what drives me to make certain life choices. Or maybe not. I don’t know. But there’s no point in sitting down, declaring that the soul is nonexistent, and not bothering to explore these fascinating avenues of myself and the world around me.

And this brings us, very loosely, to the idea of karma. Karma is complicated and complex, and I won’t claim that I understand it very well at all. Put very simply (perhaps too simply), karma is the idea of action and reaction, but we mistakenly think of it as “if you do something bad, something bad will happen to you immediately because you deserve to be punished by a higher power/the universe.”

But recently, I read a great quote on this site: “There is a tendency to cry during times of personal crisis, “Why has God done this to me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” While God is the creator and sustainer of the cosmic law of karma, He does not dispense individual karma. He does not produce cancer in one person’s body and develop Olympic athletic prowess in another’s. We create our own experiences.”

We create our own experiences. That can be incredibly liberating and also so very terrifying, because while most people will be happy to know they have free will, knowing that your negative experiences were not due to God punishing you can be scary for some people. I know what an oversimplification that last bit was, because not everything is up to us, and bad things don’t necessarily happen because you deserved them. But I think the takeaway here is this: we are responsible for ourselves, and the bad things we do have negative consequences, while the good things we do have positive ones, in the long run. I prefer to think of it this way, since I’m really big on positive and negative energy: we receive from the universe what we put into it. If you decide to be a massive jerk all the time, it’ll catch up with you. Not necessarily immediately, because I know a whole lot of really successful assholes, but I really do think that at some point the choices you make will come back to bite you. Or kiss you on the cheek, if you happen to be a wonderful person. Maybe in the next life you’ll learn to emit more positive energy.
And there are shades of grey here. I don’t know many people who are always good, and I definitely don’t know people who are always bad. Good and bad are relative terms anyway.

Anyway, in an attempt to explain/hash out some very confusing and intricate topics that I cannot claim to be an expert on, I have probably confused most of you or made you all think I’m some kind of hippie nut-job. I’ll probably have different views on life and the soul in a year, in ten years, as I continue to exist and learn about who I am and how the world works. But honestly, I’m embracing my inner hippie nut-job a lot more lately, because I think she has a lot of really interesting things to say. Maybe she’s not so nuts after all.

I love you all, and namaste. The light in me greets the light in you. Positive energy forever!

Please note that, while the article I link to above is very interesting and informative, it does not necessarily reflect all my views on life. There are some interesting ideas about suicide and euthanasia in that article, and when I say “interesting” I don’t mean good. I mean sassy. So I agree with a lot of the info in the first half of the article about karma and reincarnation, but I have some serious issues with the idea that suicide causes you to be reincarnated to a lower karmic plane, etc. Anyway, happy reading!

Stars


It looked something like this, only a little less sparkly. It was better. Because I was looking at it with my eyeballs.

It looked something like this, only a little less sparkly. It was better. Because I was looking at it with my eyeballs. Also, there was a moon involved.

I’m not entirely sure who decided to call movie stars “movie stars.” They are people who act in movies. They are in no way comparable to actual stars, and I decided this tonight while I was on a quick walk around my block (the walk was quick because it was very cold and I had not anticipated quite how chilly it would be).

I looked up at the sky tonight, y’all. This shouldn’t be that big of a deal, only I realized while I was looking up that…I never do that. I don’t even remember when the last time I stopped and looked at the night sky, honestly. But it was so brilliant. I don’t think looking at stars will ever get old for anyone. Ever.

There was a moon, and some stars, and it’s not exciting to describe but…the moon was so glowy and the stars, though sparse, were absolutely luminous. That’s one of the perks of living in the country: there’s not so much pollution to cover up the stars. I wonder what it would’ve looked like in the days of the cavemen, when the o-zone was relatively unaffected and the stars shone through, unfiltered.

I wanted to take a picture, but there is no technology (at least that I can afford) that can capture what my eyeballs and my soul can. Because I think when you look at stars in person, there’s something that happens inside you…that little spot between your belly and your chest just glows, and it feels like it tries to reach up and touch the sky. I can’t take a picture of that. I can try to write about it, but even this barely does it justice since I keep saying things like “I looked at the sky and there were stars” which isn’t exactly poetic.

Anyway, it made me think that, even though I try to appreciate my surroundings whenever I think of it, I don’t think of it enough. It’s my March Resolution now: notice things more. It feels nice to see beauty.

Also, I’m listening to this right now and it’s making me feel so happy, and I think you should listen to it, too. A little folk-rock for a Friday evening. I had so many tests this week my brain is sliming out my ears, and I like to think this music is healing me.

Let’s Be Logical


I have had a stupid, stupid month. Stupid. Not terrible, not the worst month of my life, just stupid.

My computer charger broke about a month ago. I have a MacBook, and it’s so wonderful and I love it, but it comes with the most useless charger cord ever. PCs always have those thick, black, heavily reinforced charger cords that will never break or become frayed even after you set a pack of ravenous rats upon them. Those are the best, most logical elements of PCs: their cords.

Of course, Apple is known for it’s aesthetically pleasing products, and therefore they produce the most useless, flimsy charging device known to man. It has a little baby cord that snaps into the computer, and any time there’s and “unwanted stress” upon that area where the cord meets the computer, it pops off. Awesome for not breaking the cord, you’d think. But (and this is a big but…like Sidney Crosby or Beyonce big) that cord is so weak that it often, according to the hundreds of reviews I read online, frays on that part of the cord.

Now, I am nothing if I’m not an excellent repair-woman. I took electrical tape and repaired the broken casing around the cord, and it worked for about 3 months before dying the most tragic, dramatic death ever.

So I ordered a crappy replacement on Amazon, because I didn’t want to spend 80 dollars buying one from Apple.
That crappy replacement lasted about 2 weeks before literally snapping in half. It popped off and there were blue sparks and I was terrified and may have had a mini heart attack.
So I ordered one from Apple. I gave in, y’all, because my entire college career centers around having a working computer. Half of my class documents are online, I take quizzes online, and I turn in all of my essays online. So yeah, it’s worth 80 bucks to me at this point to just have my sanity and be able to use my computer. Oh, how I long for the days of the typewriter. Or even scrolls. I would be so down with some scrolls.

I ordered the charger on Wednesday night, paid 17 dollars for next day shipping (to be delivered Friday) and waited.

I’m still waiting, y’all. The package was shipped from California, logically travelled to Memphis (I guess Elvis wanted to bless my package before it was sent to me) and is now sitting in a processing center in a town 2 hours away from mine. But! It won’t be here until Monday, according to some idiot from FedEx, because there’s a storm in another town in another state, and my package must first go there but it can’t because there’s a storm.
We must send the package INTO the storm! Send it into the storm to test its resilience, and then we will know that it is suitable to charge Cappy’s computer.
My favorite muffin and wife/best friend Chloe has 20 bucks on it arriving damaged, hacked apart by some sort of freak Pacific Northwest tornado situation.

I am miffed. I am very, very miffed. Apple has refunded me 20 dollars (thank you very much) and FedEx may or may not be doing the same, depending on how much I (and my mother) complain (a lot).

I swear, though, if it snows tomorrow while I trudge up to campus to do my work in the library, I am suing FedEx for psychological damages. My brain has melted and is pouring out my ears right now.

Little Squeaks


Last night, I was really worried there was a mouse in my apartment. A real one, with little ears and whiskers and possibly rabies, and it made me very nervous. Now, remember, I pride myself on not being creeped out by bugs or snakes or small rodents (except squirrels, because they’re always up to no good). But when there’s a possibility that one is hiding under your bed hoping for a nighttime snack, it’s a whole new situation.

I heard a few squeaking noises, which I initially thought were coming from my toilet (and let’s be honest, that’s entirely possible…my plumbing isn’t exactly up to par) and then I heard something fall down (another moment of honesty: things fall down a lot in my apartment because I apparently don’t know how to hang stuff properly). I never figured out what fell, exactly, and I was incredibly sleep deprived from an insane two weeks of manic test-taking, so it’s very possible that I’d been hallucinating or something. 

I was still pretty paranoid, and I have to admit I did sit on my bed in terror for a few minutes (hours), and I looked under my bed half-expecting to have one of my eyeballs gnawed off. After walking around my apartment (crouching, really) kicking everything to make sure my mousey friend wasn’t hiding in or under it, I came to the conclusion that there’s a 99.9% chance that I’m losing my marbles and there is not a mouse in my house (har har). 

So I guess if Little Squeaks (that’s his name, obviously, especially because I’m hoping he’s really small) does live here now, he and I will just have to coexist for the rest of the semester. I do have plenty of cheese.

16 Things We Forget To Thank Our Moms For


cappy writes:

Every day, I thank the universe that I happened to grow out of my mother’s womb instead of someone else’s. This article says exactly why.

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

1. All the times she had to double as best friend/counselor/therapist/costume designer/hair stylist/coach/all-around-solver-of-every-problem-ever. I remain unconvinced that moms aren’t actually superheroes in disguise.

2. Forgiving us when we forget to call.

3. Listening to all our pointless dramas when we do remember.

4. Being the kind of person that we actually do want to become — because as we all know, it’s inevitable.

5. Having the incredible prowess only a mother whose babes have been scorned could — mama bear protects her cubs, sometimes excessively, but we love it, let’s be honest.

6. All those times we yelled “MOOOOMMM!!” through the house to find out where our white shirt was or what time so-and-so was getting home and all the other questions we just couldn’t go to Dad for.

7. All the things she reluctantly bought us at the cash register of any given store, all the clothes and things…

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Skin


Yesterday, my poetry professor asked if my “write” tattoo was part of the Skin project by Shelley Jackson from 2004. When I explained that I would’ve been 11 years old in 2004, so my tattoo didn’t stem from that particular project, he explained it to me.

I’m obsessed and in awe and shocked and in love and…so upset that I couldn’t be a part of that project. Because it’s honestly the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever heard.

Shelley Jackson wrote a 2,095 word story and asked that people come forward and get one of those words tattooed on their body. The participants had no choice in which word they would receive, though they could refuse to get the tattoo if they so chose. Most of those words, outside of the context, would seem completely random, and a lot of them involve one end of punctuation, like back,”. She has the word “skin” — the title of the story — tattooed on her body. And no one, no one besides these people and Shelley Jackson herself, know the story.

Shelley refers to these people as her words. When they die, she will try her best to attend their funerals. And when they’ve all passed, the story is over. The story is gone.

There’s something so perfect about this. These 2,095 people, scattered around the world, are connected forever. There is a secret story that binds them. Isn’t that the most ingenious, wonderful notion you’ve ever heard?